Hällas at Cirkus, Stockholm
Hällas have gotten together for the first live show since the pandemic, although not without its delays. The full discography headline show was supposed to happen in January, but alas due to various pandemic shenanigans it got postponed until April 10th.
At the near full Cirkus Arena in Stockholm, the band played through the story of Star Rider going through their entire discography – (at least it would have been until they released ‘Isle of Wisdom’ two days before the show!) There were no support bands, so Hällas started off the night straight away running into their self titled EP.
Tommy Alexandersson took to the front of the stage donning a Cape and shiny silver boots, leading the audience through the lore with his powerful voice. Unfortunately as my seat was miles back I didn’t manage to cop a photo.
The sound was deliciously crispy and punchy straight from the get-go with ‘Autumn in Space’ channelling the prog-rock directly into our ears. Respect to the mixing engineer for allowing these songs to sound as great live as they do on the studio albums.
After the EP was sorted, the band moved forward into ‘Excerpts from a Future Past’. I was excited to hear ‘The Astral Seer’ in the flesh!
The light show was also pretty ridiculous with laser beams piercing through the venue at incredibly precision. They certainly set the retro-futuristic vibe to match the story of the music perfectly.
Another fan favourite ‘Star Rider’ caught the audience in a state of frenzy. This may have been a seated concert, but you could tell that everyone was elated to hear this one live.
There was then a brief interval before part two of the show, ‘Conundrum’. This is the album I know best by the band, so I was happily singing along to every song that came through. ‘Ascension, Tear of a Traitor’, and ‘Carry On’ are some of my absolute favourites!
Even though it was a seated concert, everyone stood up to cheer at the end of ‘Fading Hero’ with the crowd going wild for this one-off special extravaganza of a show.
The short encore consisted of two songs from ‘Isle of Wisdom’, and even though the audience hadn’t had as long to warm to these songs as much as the rest of the material, they still went down a treat.
I had a spectacular time, mostly because I spent 5 days in Stockholm hanging with friends, but I have to give Hällas some credit too as the show was absolutely stellar. I’m always a sucker for special one-off shows that are centred around storytelling – whether than be the storytelling of a particular concept album (Ayreon springs to mind), or the story of the artist themself (Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress anyone?)
Hopefully, we can all get the opportunity to see them on a European live tour sometime soon as I’d love to see a more balanced set to really bring the audience through the highs and lows of what this band have to offer.